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Directed by: Sergio Martino
Starring: Daniel Greene, Franco Fantasia, George Eastman, Janet Agren, and John Saxon
A big thank you to Sutekh from Explosive Action for providing us with a copy!
In a post-apocalyptic city, Rev. Arthur Mosely (Fantasia) is the man controlling things. With posters pasted all around that scream “You Have No Future”, the populace is understandably despairing. Enter a hulking brute named, inexplicably, Paco Queruak (Greene). Queruak is 80% cyborg and has been programmed to kill Mosely. After seemingly completing his mission, Paco goes on the run and ends up in rural Arizona. He stops at a road house run by Linda (Agren) and begins working there, as well as developing a relationship with her. But her joint is known for its rowdy arm-wrestling competitions. A man named Raul (Eastman) sure does love to wrist-wrassle. All the while, a mysterious businessman named Turner (Saxon), as well as his goons, are after Paco because they want to stop him, and they will stop at nothing to do so. Dodging danger at every turn, what will happen to Paco Queruak?
Paco Queruak. That name is really all you need to know. The minds that could come up with that applied their talents to an entire movie. How do you even pronounce that last name? Is it like Jack Kerouac? Because if so, Paco Queruak is the real “beat poet”, if you know what we mean. Hands of Steel is director Sergio Martino’s take on the movies of the day - it’s sort of a melange of The Terminator (1984) and Robocop (1987) if they were to walk into a Road House (1989) and go Over The Top (1987). Impressively, Hands of Steel pre-dated all those movies except The Terminator. Martino would go on to use Daniel Greene in American Tiger (1990) a few years later, but here he’s cast perfectly as the lead, because he can be as robotic as he wants to be.
In the future there are plenty of abandoned warehouses, signs warning against acid rain, and, perhaps most dangerously, John Saxon with a laser cannon. It seemed like Saxon was going to have a sit-down role for most of the movie until this scene occurred. It’s worth watching this movie for this part alone. Plus there’s an evil cyborg named Susie that is uncredited in the movie but looks a lot like Daria Nicolodi. But as for the lead, Daniel Greene as - one more time - Paco Queruak - for a guy with “Hands Of Steel” he sure ends up in the right place. That being a place where arm wrestling is king. And during a computer run-down of his attributes as part man and part machine, this is seen on the screen: “Negative Characteristics: None”. So he really is the perfect man. But the strange coda at the end of the movie just may confuse things. You’ll just have to see it to know what we mean.
Highlighted by some great music by Claudio Simonetti, Hands Of Steel is a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out.
Also check out our buddy, RobotGEEK's review!
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett